(Kanagawa Shimbun: June 19, 2015 – Top Play)
USS “Chancellorsville” (CG-62), a U.S. Navy Ticonderoga-class missile-guided cruiser, arrived at the U.S. Navy’s Yokosuka Base (Yokosuka City) on June 18. The Aegis cruiser brings to 12 the number of warships with Yokosuka as their de facto home port. This is the first increase in the number of ships in 23 years. The U.S. Navy has decided to consecutively deploy three additional Aegis cruisers to the Yokosuka Base by summer in 2017. The Chancellorsville is the first of the three. The deployment of the three additional Aegis cruisers reflects President’s Obama’s policy of a “rebalance” to Asia.
The Chancellorsville (approx. 350 crew members; 173 meters in length) was deployed to Yokosuka Base from August 1998 to September 2006. Following a long period for maintenance, the cruiser was fitted with the “Baseline 9,” the most advanced Aegis combat system, with improved capabilities in air defense and in anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, after which it joined the task force of the Seventh Fleet. The cruiser is responsible for supporting the carrier strike group of which the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), scheduled to deploy to Yokosuka this autumn, is the centerpiece.
Chancellorsville moored at Yokosuka after 10:00 am on June 18, having departed from Naval Station San Diego. Capt. Curt A. Renshaw, the cruiser’s commanding officer, said: “The Chancellorsville will provide further capabilities and capacity for every mission. With the most advanced combat system, the cruiser has become one of the most capable warships in the U.S. Navy. The Chancellorsville will fulfill the responsibility of not only defending Japan but also contribute to the security and stability of the Asia-Pacific region.”
The U.S. Navy will additionally deploy two guided-missile destroyers equipped with a ballistic missile defense (BMD) system, USS “Benfold” (DDG-65) in August 2015, and USS Milius in July 2017, which will bring the total number of warships at Yokosuka to 14.